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» Regional and local development
United Nations agencies in Albania support central, regional and local government institutions to formulate a regional development policy and strategic approach to absorb EU Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance funds for regional development. The main challenge lies in the need for a more strategic focus in the current institutional set-up and in the tools and resources that address regional disparities and sub-regional competitiveness, in order to seize the forthcoming EU Regional Development opportunities.
The Programme of Cooperation 2012-2016 supports policymaking on food safety and quality, providing technical assistance to central and local government, as well as competitive farm production and markets. United Nations agencies work to strengthen institutions and harmonize legislation with the EU acquis communautaire. In addition, selected local interventions aim to improve the participatory identification, planning and prioritization of pro-poor investment opportunities in the rural mountain areas. In order to enhance the competitiveness of rural based value chains, co-financing is provided for the construction or rehabilitation of small-scale public infrastructure while access to debt financing for small agricultural producers and rural businesses is facilitated.
The Programme of Cooperation promotes local economic development and sustainable tourism, and supports relevant governmental institutions and Albanian regions in implementing the national strategies for Tourism, Culture and Cultural Marketing. In this context, capacities for cultural diplomacy as well as legislation and policies that develop and safeguard cultural and natural heritage sites are strengthened.
Advice is provided for the implementation of the Decentralization Strategy, including effective fiscal decentralization and institutional consolidation. In this regard, support to develop a framework for inter-municipal cooperation is delivered, in order to enable local governments to fulfill obligations, with a specific focus on gender-responsive regional government reform.
The United Nations provide technical assistance to regional and local authorities on administrative and financial management and coordination between central and local governments, emphasizing innovation and gender-sensitive responses. The Programme of Cooperation supports the design and implementation of local legislation or policies that ensure access to services – in particular for marginalized groups – and promote community participation, while aligning with national plans such as the National Action Plan for Roma.